themighty logo

Why We Need to Treat Anxiety Like Any Other Illness

Anxiety isn’t just being nervous for a test.

Anxiety can corrupt your life, controlling every aspect. It makes rational things seem irrational, as if there is no way you can let them happen or else horrific consequences will happen. It’s certain — there are no explanations, no reasoning, other than worry overruling everything. It is overthinking every, little, thing, until that thought grows and grows and takes control of how you feel.

Anxiety can take over, so no matter where you are or who you’re with, gut-wrenching feelings of panic can overwhelm you, leaving you with two options: fight or flight. Panic attacks can be debilitating. One minute you appear calm, the next you can’t breathe, you can’t move, you can’t think. Every emotion piles in at once, leaving you feeling frozen once it quietly finishes. For many, it may return before you can even fully recover.

At times, it can feel like you’re drowning in a sea of worry, pain and panic you created yourself. At times, it’s hard to see past the blurred wall of negativity in front of you. Nausea, fatigue and headaches are just a few of the physical symptoms that accompany it. There is no textbook form of anxiety; it’s different for everyone.

Anxiety is not easy, it is not fake, it is not “all in your head;” it’s real, and it’s a mental illness. So many people struggle with it — whether that be silently, or with a clinical diagnosis.

Mental illnesses need to be taken seriously because so many people lose their lives because of this every year (and every day). It is so important. Mental health is no less important than physical health; if you break your leg, then you get it fixed, so mental health recovery should be encouraged and supported.

Having an abundance of both good and bad days is “normal,” so if you know someone struggling, patience and positivity can be the key to success.

Mental illnesses can isolate you, so some people may not feel able to ask for help. It is important to know they are still the same person, they are just dealing with an incredibly difficult battle.

We need to call it by its name and help spread the word. Mental health is unfortunately still not globally understood. It can be overlooked easily.

For those struggling, no one is ever alone. Seeking help is possibly the scariest step, but recovery is so worth it in the end.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Photo by Sean Witzke on Unsplash